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Morning Headlines



LAPD May Ease Drug Rules to Expand Recruiting Pool

Hoping to boost recruitment at the Los Angeles Police Department, Police Chief William Bratton said Thursday he will work to revamp his department’s screening process for its job applicants, including the current ban on job candidates who have used drugs, Copley News Service reported. Bratton said the LAPD’s screening standards may be causing the department to turn away qualified candidates who then get hired by other police agencies. Bratton called for less stringent requirements regarding a job candidate’s prior drug use or financial problems. “The reality is, kids today, by the time they hit 21 … they may have in fact tried, sampled drugs at some time in their life,” said Bratton.



Nara Bancorp Plans to Hire Consultant


Nara Bancorp Inc., a Los Angeles-based retail bank, said it would hire an independent consultant to review its oversight and management as part of an agreement with regulators, Bloomberg News reported. In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Nara Bancorp said the memorandum of understanding also prohibited it from declaring dividends without the prior approval of the Federal Reserve Bank and the California Department of Financial Institutions. Nara was designated in “troubled condition” July 8 by regulators, according to its filing.



Archerd Giving Up Daily Variety Column


Army Archerd announced that he was giving up the column he has written in the Hollywood trade paper Daily Variety for 52 years, although he plans to continue reporting on Hollywood, the Associated Press reported. “I’ll still be fully employed,” Archerd, 83, declared in an interview. “I just won’t have the pressure of deadlines.” He also plans to continue covering the Oscars and to work on his memoirs. Archerd’s column has been a must-read for producers, agents, actors, directors and publicists in the film and TV industries. Archerd will write his last regular column on Sept. 1.



Teachers Union Drops Tax-Hike Initiative


The California Teachers Association has dropped an initiative that would have poured billions of dollars into schools by raising property taxes on businesses. Instead, the CTA will work with the opponents of the “Tax Fairness Act” to craft long-term solutions to school funding in the state, the Associated Press reported. The CTA had gathered enough signatures to qualify the initiative for the June 2006 ballot. It would have exempted California commercial and business properties from Proposition 13’s rule that property value is only assessed at the time of sale. Taxing commercial property at its current value could have generated more than $3.5 billion annually to be split among schools, local transportation projects and public safety. Various business groups opposed the measure.



Major Cuts at Hospital Urged


L.A. County health officials Thursday recommended scaling back the services offered by Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, including closure of patient care wards devoted to pediatrics, obstetrics and neonatology, in their latest attempt to rescue the ailing public hospital. In briefings with the county Board of Supervisors, health director Dr. Thomas Garthwaite also said that the hospital’s trauma center should remain closed and that King/Drew should reduce cardiovascular surgery, neurosurgery and other staff and services needed to reopen the unit, the Los Angeles Times reported. The recommendations would effectively turn King/Drew into a small community hospital, a long way from its status a few years ago as a hub of specialty care.



Garcetti Agrees to Pay Fine From 2001 Race


Los Angeles City Councilman Eric Garcetti has agreed to pay a $5,000 fine issued by the City Ethics Commission for failing to submit 10 pieces of campaign literature to the commission during his 2001 campaign, the Los Angeles Times reported. Garcetti cooperated with the investigation and has said the failure to submit the material was an oversight. The commission will vote on whether to accept the settlement at its Tuesday meeting.



Strip Club Stirs Outrage With Less-Than-Subtle Sign


“What’s obscene and what isn’t?” is the question L.A. city officials are pondering in response to frankly worded billboard ads a strip-club owner is using in front of his business on Century Boulevard near LAX. Merchants nearby and Gateway to L.A., an association that promotes airport-area businesses, say they don’t like the word plays. But Century Lounge owner Howard White insists he’s simply advertising his business, and says it’s no different than a Broadway marquee hawking a play like the “Vagina Monologues.” Association members argue the newest sign, “Vaginas R Us,” reinforces a seedy image the area has worked hard to shed, and shouldn’t be one of the first things visitors to L.A. should see, the Daily Breeze reported.

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